- The first explainer for the ending of the book that Kate reads in the episode was What Happens at the End of Infinite Jest? (or, the Infinite Jest ending explained) by the late, lamented Aaron Swartz. He also wrote a blog post On Finishing Infinite Jest.
- “And here, really, is the enigma of David Foster Wallace’s work generally and Infinite Jest specifically: an endlessly, compulsively entertaining book that stingily withholds from readers the core pleasures of mainstream novelistic entertainment, among them a graspable central narrative line, identifiable movement through time, and any resolution of its quadrumvirate plotlines.” - Four Theories Toward the Timeless Brilliance of Infinite Jest
- “Perfect, however, ‘Infinite Jest’ is not: this 1,079-page novel is a ‘loose baggy monster,’ to use Henry James’s words, a vast, encyclopedic compendium of whatever seems to have crossed Mr. Wallace’s mind.” - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times 1996 BOOKS OF THE TIMES;A Country Dying of Laughter. In 1,079 Pages.
- “Long after publication Wallace maintained this position, stating that the novel ‘does resolve, but it resolves … outside of the right frame of the picture. You can get a pretty good idea, I think, of what happens’. Critical reviews and a reader’s guide have provided insight, but Burns notes that Wallace privately conceded to Jonathan Franzen that ‘the story can’t fully be made sense of’.” - the Wikipedia article for Infinite Jest
Fuzzy started this podcast because he couldn’t find an existing podcast that worked through Infinite Jest. There must have been something in the zeitgeist, because Fuzzy’s brother pointed us at Jest Friends, a podcast that started around the same time as this one. They’re only about halfway through, as they’re reading around 50 pages a week. Good luck to them!
We went ahead and read 1.5 weeks’ worth to get back on track.
For next week, read to page 981 if you’re reading along (that is, finish the book).
Ignore what we say at the end of the episode and read to page 907 if you’re reading along. That’s right, we’re going for it!
This week is a special minisode, just a half-week segment on the Infinite Summer Reading Schedule. Look, life happens. But then somehow we managed to talk about half as many pages for about the same amount of time as always. Is it possible that we’re just two old friends who like getting together once a week and yammering? Maaaaybe.
Here’s the button that Fuzzy gave Kate:
For next episode, read pages 728-801 if you’re reading along.
Despite what we say at the end of the episode, just read from pg 686 to 727 for next episode, if you’re reading along.
For next episode, read pages 612-685 if you’re reading along.
For next episode, read pages 538-611 if you’re reading along.
A shorter episode than we’ve been doing so far, and a shocking reveal two-thirds of the way through the podcast. Are there any show notes? Not really. We still haven’t actually made Kate’s shirt.
For next episode, read pages 465-537 if you’re reading along.
* Kate mentioned reading two articles about women reading DFW: Men Recommend David Foster Wallace to Me and Why Literary Chauvinists Love David Foster Wallace
* The video for the The Decemberists song “Calamity Song” features the game of Eschaton from this section.
* Kate mentions the classic Steve Delahoyde video 238 Miles.
* We didn’t mention it in the podcast, but off-air Kate saw that Bill Gates is reading “every word” written by DFW.
For next episode, read pages 391-464 if you’re reading along.
We’re not broken yet, but we’re a little bowed.
For next episode, read pages 317-390 if you’re reading along.